Want to Change Your Life? Challenge Your Thoughts (Part II)
Part II of a II Part Series Last week we learned that stress is perception and that Toxic Thoughts pollute our thinking and create mental sabotage. In the end, our mind is our greatest asset or our worst liability. This week we’re going to talk about Reframing: Reconstructing our thoughts and changing the way we view situations. In other words, changing our mental mindset. A Recap of Reframing Reframing is like rearranging the furniture in our home or painting our walls a different color. It’s the same furniture in the same room, but somehow it looks completely different when we change the layout. Reframing is similar to putting our favorite photo in a different frame. It’s the same photo, but we see it differently because the frame changes the way we look at the picture. Reframing is a technique aimed at changing the way we perceive situations and altering our mindset from a negative to a more positive approach. Reframing allows us to rid ourselves of Toxic Thoughts, those thoughts that cloud our judgment and get in the way of positive solutions. Below is a recap of the Toxic Thoughts I discussed last week.
10 Toxic Thoughts:
Pessimism- seeing the worst in every situation
Blaming- shifting responsibility onto someone else
Perfectionism- imposing above-human standards on others or ourselves
Polarized Thinking- viewing things in extremes, as good or bad, with no middle ground
Magnifying- blowing problems out of proportion
Over-generalizations- one single negative circumstance manifests into a life sentence. “This always happens to me.” “I’ll never be happy.”
Disqualifying the positive- negative thoughts and beliefs override positive ones. We tune out positive words and situations and focus only on the negative ones
Mental filter- a solitary negative detail becomes the focus, obscuring the bigger picture
Should statements- feeling that one “should” or “must,” which results in one feeling guilt or resentment toward others
Personalizing- taking people and situations personally, blaming ourselves for events that we had little or nothing to do with
Reframe Your Reality
Below I list the four steps that help us “Reframe our Reality.” Remember that our mind is the most powerful tool we have. We can’t avoid stress or challenges, because we can’t control what comes our way, but we can take charge of our attitude about the challenges we face and more positively direct the outcome.
Awareness- Identify and write down your three greatest challenges, why they are causing you stress, and why they are bringing negativity into your life. Identify the Toxic Thoughts that might cloud your thinking when you face these stressors.
Reappraise the Situation- Write down two to three possible solutions for each stressor or challenge. If there is no “solution,” in that you can’t change what has already happened, write down two to three things you can learn from the situation, how it can help you grow, and what you might do differently in the future. This is an empowering exercise that reminds us that we're in charge of our attitude and the way we approach our problems. It allows us to step back, generate a more objective point of view, and focus on solutions rather than the problem itself.
Implement Your Solution- Adopt and implement your solutions. Meet your challenges head on. It could be that your solution isn’t a solution, so much as a different mindset, or a different outlook. Again, maybe you can’t change what happened, or what might happen, such as a job loss, but your greatest stressor might be nothing more than your own negative thoughts. It could be that the toxicity your mind creates alters your perception and clouds what is good in your life. Repeat your solutions, and adopt your new outlook each and every time you meet those challenges.
Evaluate Your Solutions and Your Outlook- Do your solutions make you feel more in control? Does your new outlook bring you more peace? If not, start back at step 2.
Reframing is all about changing your perspective, taking your current situation and appreciating that for every negative, challenging event that happens to us, there is something to be learned or gained. We have a choice in how we meet our challenges and find resolution, even if it’s just resolving our own thoughts and finding peace in recognizing what we can and cannot control
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